It was a huge help knowing that the Employability team were looking out for you and want you to succeed in finding a good placement
More about Tasmin
Employer name: City Year UK
How did you find / source your placement?
I used InPlace through NTU Employability.
What was the recruitment process like for this role?
It was so comfortable, quick, and easy. The application itself only took around 20 minutes. It was a form asking why you would like to volunteer for the company and what you wished to get out of it. I think this was a great application process as it focuses on you and your personality and skills, rather than your CV.
I received a phone call a few hours later asking to arrange an interview for the following week. City Year prepared me well for the interview by providing a scenario for me to study and answer questions about, so that I could prepare my response. The interview lasted just over an hour with the usual competency questions and a chance to chat, but it was relaxed and fun. After the interview, I had to complete a one-hour GCSE Foundation-level Maths and English test online, this was GCSE level content. As I am dyslexic, they even gave me extra time to complete it.
I received a phone call a week or so later that discussed my interview in-depth and gave great feedback – and was offered the role!
Did you get support from the Employability team during your search for this role? If yes, what support did you get and how did it help you?
Yes, I did. I contacted the Employability team quite a few times to ask for advice and they were always very helpful and friendly. They also emailed me about the opening at City Year UK and suggested I should apply as soon as my placement had been confirmed. It was a huge help knowing I had the support of the Employability team and that they wanted me to succeed in finding a good placement.
What new skills and practices are you learning/have you learned from your work experience placement?
I have learned a lot about leadership and personal and professional development.
The placement involves working in a school from Monday to Thursday. Fridays are dedicated to improving our own skills – especially those involving leadership. We complete courses, network, and learn how to be better leaders.
Teamwork is a big part of my placement, as you are working on a daily basis with a group of people. This has been a great skill to master and I intend to keep developing it in future roles.
During the placement, I have learned to be organised, patient and empathetic as I am working in a challenging school environment. This has been so rewarding and it has taught me so much about myself.
The company have also given me opportunities to take part in public speaking, which has helped to build my confidence. Working in a new environment has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone as I've learned to improve my communication skills, delegate, solve disagreements and lead a team.
City Year focuses on you growing as a person, and I think this is why I have enjoyed my role so much because it is great to work for a company that invests in you as much as you invest in them.
What effect has the pandemic had on you and your placement, and how have you adapted your thought process / planning accordingly?
Working in a school and with a lot of SEN children means that COVID restrictions can easily affect your role. Mandatory mask-wearing in the school made it difficult to communicate with pupils who may rely on lip-reading and facial expressions. It was also scary waiting to hear if we would end up in another lockdown, as I would not have been able to go into the school and do my role. Thankfully, City Year had already planned for this, which helped me to keep a positive attitude throughout the tough COVID winter season.
How do you think your placement will help prepare you for your graduate job/job search?
Having a whole year's worth of experience under my belt when searching for a graduate role will hopefully boost my employability prospects. I know that I would like to work with children, and this placement has given me a great depth of experience and knowledge that I can utilise when searching for a graduate role.
I have been given my own mentor whilst on placement, who has been working with me on my CV, job applications and interview skills.
What advice would you give to NTU students applying for placements this year?
- Apply to as many as you can. Taking part in interviews is a great experience you can learn from and use to improve for the next one!
- Create a spreadsheet with all the placements you have applied for to keep tabs on how far you have got and what your next task is.
- Search for keywords related to a role you'd like and have notifications on so you receive an alert when a new job is posted.
- Make use of the Employability team, they are a great help, and they want you to be successful! Schedule meetings and calls if you are struggling or need advice.
- Check InPlace regularly as they upload new placements that are already approved by the university and are easy to find.